Archive for November, 2006

On Thanksgiving

Friday, November 24th, 2006

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all you lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing. Know you that the Lord is God: it is He that has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and His truth endures to all generations. [Psalm 100]

Yesterday, here in the US, we celebrated our National Day of Thanksgiving. To some it may seem we spend the day celebrating our abundance, more than thanking God for it. That’s because they don’t understand that we are celebrating with God, in keeping in remembrance that He is the author of all our blessings.
God is pleased to see us enjoying a great day of celebration and feasting. The bible is full of examples of Holy Days set aside for just that purpose. In fact, though we may think we are quite the party animals, our celebrations pale in comparison to our forefathers. Take King David for example, he couldn’t contain his joy before the Lord. At any given time he could break out in song and dance in celebration of what the Lord has done, and he didn’t care who he embarrassed in the process. [II Samuel 6:15-21]
You see, for God’s children thanksgiving should not be merely a holiday, but a way of life. It is an attitude of gratitude. A condition of the heart by which we are continually thankful for all of our blessings great and small. The blessings seen and unseen, the ones we understand and the even ones we don’t.
We can accomplish this if we have no anxiety about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let our requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. [Philip. 4:6-7]
Therefore, join me as I offer to God the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and call on the name of the Lord. [Psalm 116:17] That we may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all His wondrous works. [Psalm 26:7] Let us come before his presence… and make a joyful noise to him with psalms. [Psalm 95:2] Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be to our God for ever and ever. Amen. [Rev. 7:12]

The Comforter

Sunday, November 12th, 2006

Today many people have an unfortunate perception of God. They see Him as a stern dictator, an unrelenting judge. One who sits in heaven just waiting for us to do something wrong so that He may punish us. Sadly over the years the church hasn’t done enough to counter this ill perception. Instead of teaching on God’s abundant mercy and grace, many preachers, eager to line their pockets, have helped spread this vicious rumor. They stand up there yelling “Repent, repent you evil sinners, before the judgment of God comes down and consumes you. Write a check today, before it’s too late.”
Well what I’m here to tell you is that the God of creation is not a dictator, but a comforter. One who takes great pride in His creation and loves everyone of us, just as we are. He is,”… the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God.”[II Cor. 1:3-4]
You see, from the beginning of time God has had a plan to redeem us of that sinful nature which plagues and torments us. In fulfillment of that plan, a part of The trinity {the word} came to earth manifested in flesh. Jesus’ sacrifice, resurrection, and ascension were all necessary components of God’s plan to have a real and personal relationship with us. Which He does by sending His Holy Spirit to dwell in us and become one with our spirit.
Right before His sacrifice, Jesus said,” Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I don’t go away the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send him to you.” [John 16:7] “… when the Comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me.” [John 15:26] “At that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” [John 14:20-21] When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on his own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come.” [John 16:13] “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” [John 14:18]
It’s important to understand that the word repent simply means to change. The reason that the message of these preachers frustrates me so, is the fact that until we accept Christ and receive the Holy Spirit, we are powerless to change. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are made holy, because” … when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” [John 16:8] As God’s Spirit becomes one with our spirit He changes us, by revealing His truths to us and renewing our minds. [Rom 12:2]
So don’t let those wolves masquerading as shepherds lay a heavy guilt trip on you. Find a spiritual mentor who will show you that God is a God of mercy and Grace. He loves you so much that He sent His only begotten son to die for you. [John 3:16] He will not leave you comfortless nor forsake you. He has a plan to establish an intimate relationship with you. All you have to do is accept that plan and He will do the rest, by the power of His Spirit.

On Baptism

Sunday, November 5th, 2006


In the various sects of religions who confess to be Christian there is much doctrinal differences in tenets. Personally, to avoid confusion I choose to look to God’s word for answers instead of religious institutions. From my experience, differences of opinion between Christian sects tend to be more about traditions of man than about interpretations of God’s word.
God’s word is really not all that complicated or hard to understand. In fact now days with modern english translations and software with bible search engines, it is easier than ever to find answers to all of our questions. We can simply do a topical search, and all scriptures containing such words pop up at the push of a button. No longer are the days of pouring over the scriptures for hours to find various references spread throughout, on any given subject.
Well, that is exactly what I did on the subject of baptism. I didn’t want to know what the Pope, an institution, or my neighbor had to say about it, but what my Creator had to say. After all, unless I seek out God’s truth’s and His plan for redemption, all the religion in the world won’t do me a bit of good.
What I found out is that His plan is spelled out in a way that even the most simple of us can understand. For example:
These scriptures point out that according to God’s word there is only one thing needed to receive baptism, belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, our redeemer;

“And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned. [Mark 16:15-16]
“And as they went on their way, they came to a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what does hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.” [Acts 8:36-38]
Also we learn that baptism is an act of repentance that cleanses us through faith, and is readily available to all who believe;
” And he said to them, To what then were you baptized? And they said, To John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John truly baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. [Acts 19:3-4]
“Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.” [Acts 2:38-39]
Then we go on to learn of the great mystery behind the ritual of baptism, newness of life in Christ;
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. [Romans 6:3-11]
“Buried with him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised him from the dead.” [Colossians 2:12]
“For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you be Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” [Gal 3:26-29]
And finally all that remains, is an admonition to practice baptism;
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.” [Matt 28:18-20]
“Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord…” [Acts 10:47-48]
“And now why tarry you? arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” [Acts 22:16]